The form of authority in Mughal period in India was? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

Mughal Period in India

Question: The form of authority in Mughal period in India was?

  1. Medieval
  2. Charismatic
  3. Traditional
  4. Rational legal

Answer: (1)

The MA CUET exam question inquires about the form of authority during the Mughal period in India, with the options being (a) Medieval, (b) Charismatic, (c) Traditional, and (d) Rational-legal. The provided answer is not a specific option but instead offers an analysis of the Mughal Empire in the context of historical conditions, particularly focusing on religious policies. To provide a comprehensive response, it is essential to explore the dynamics of authority during the Mughal period, the religious policies of the Mughal rulers, and the comparison with contemporary European counterparts.

The Mughal Empire and Forms of Authority:

The Mughal Empire, which spanned from the early 16th century to the mid-19th century, was characterized by a centralized imperial authority under various Mughal rulers. The Mughals, descendants of Timur and Genghis Khan, established a vast and diverse empire in the Indian subcontinent.

During the Mughal period, the form of authority can be understood through the lens of centralized monarchy, where the emperor held significant power and authority over the administration, military, and various aspects of governance. However, the nature of this authority can be nuanced, and it may not fit neatly into the predefined categories of (a) Medieval, (b) Charismatic, (c) Traditional, or (d) Rational-legal.

Religious Policies of the Mughals:

The response to the question takes a unique approach by examining the Mughal Empire’s religious policies as a crucial factor in evaluating the nature of authority during that period. Religion indeed played a pivotal role in shaping the lives of people in medieval societies, influencing commerce, taxation, security, and various other aspects of governance.

Comparison with Contemporary Europe:

To contextualize the Mughal Empire’s religious policies, the answer draws a parallel with the conditions in medieval Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. The European context is characterized by wars that were often religion-centric, with conflicts between Catholics and Protestants and instances of religious persecution and expulsion of minority populations.

In this comparative analysis, the response argues that the Mughal policies appear more liberal and secular when viewed against the backdrop of the religious conflicts and persecutions in medieval Europe. This perspective challenges the traditional narrative that tends to evaluate historical periods and rulers solely through modern values of secularism, diversity, pluralism, and tolerance.

Liberalism and Secularism in Mughal Policies:

The assessment of the Mughal Empire as more liberal and secular is substantiated by historical accounts of Mughal rulers’ policies toward religious diversity. The Mughal emperors, such as Akbar, are often lauded for their efforts to promote religious tolerance and inclusivity. Akbar, in particular, is known for his policy of Sulh-e-Kul or “Peace with All,” which aimed to create a harmonious society by fostering understanding and tolerance among people of different religious beliefs.

Akbar’s Din-i Ilahi, an attempt to synthesize elements from various religions, and his abolishment of the jizya tax on non-Muslims are often cited as examples of the Mughal Empire’s relatively liberal stance. Similarly, other Mughal rulers, including Jahangir and Shah Jahan, continued policies of religious tolerance.

Nuanced Understanding of Mughal Authority:

While acknowledging the Mughal Empire’s relatively liberal and secular policies, it is important to note that the form of authority during the Mughal period was not solely defined by religious considerations. The Mughal rulers exercised centralized authority, maintaining a complex administrative and bureaucratic structure. The emperor held considerable power, and governance was influenced by Persianate administrative practices.

The Mughal rulers, while promoting religious tolerance, also sought to consolidate power and maintain stability in their diverse empire. The Mughal period witnessed a synthesis of various cultural and artistic traditions, contributing to the rich tapestry of Mughal India. The Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan, stands as a testament to the architectural and artistic achievements of the Mughal Empire.

Historical Context and Modern Evaluation:

The response highlights the importance of evaluating historical periods within their specific contexts. It cautions against applying contemporary values and criteria, such as secularism and liberalism, directly to historical epochs that operated under different norms and societal structures.

While recognizing the relative liberalism of the Mughal Empire’s religious policies, it emphasizes the need to consider the conditions of the time, the geopolitical landscape, and the specific challenges faced by rulers in the Indian subcontinent.


In conclusion, the answer to the MA CUET exam question offers a nuanced exploration of the form of authority during the Mughal period in India. It emphasizes the importance of considering religious policies as a key factor in evaluating the nature of authority during that time.

The response provides insights into the Mughal Empire’s relatively liberal and secular policies, especially in comparison to the religious conflicts in contemporary medieval Europe. It encourages a nuanced understanding of the Mughal period, acknowledging the complexity of governance, administrative structures, and the broader cultural and artistic contributions of the Mughal Empire.

This analysis demonstrates the dynamic nature of historical authority, shaped by a myriad of factors, and underscores the importance of contextualizing historical periods within their specific socio-political landscapes.


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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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